Image Alt

A Beginner’s Guide To Fishing In Wales

Sea Fishing In Wales

A Beginner’s Guide To Fishing In Wales

In this ‘catch-all’ beginner’s guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about fishing in Wales. Whether you’re looking for the best locations or want to know which species of fish you’ll find, read on to see why Wales is a true fisher’s paradise.

With over 500 wild lakes and reservoirs, 1400 miles of trout river, and 170 coarse fisheries, Wales boasts some of the most spectacular fishing spots in the world. From the shores of Pembrokeshire to the waters of Snowdonia, you’ll have a huge amount of choice when it comes to planning your perfect outing. If you’re a beginner, this means there’s no better place to learn the ancient art of fishing.

What are the different types of fishing in Wales?

Home to a wide range of both salt and freshwater sites, Wales has something to suit every kind of angler. Here, we’ve provided a basic introduction to the three different types of fishing. Only you can decide which one will reel you in!


Man fishing in Wales by the cliffs

Coarse fishing in Wales

‘Coarse fishing’ takes its name from the coarse scales of species such as the pike, perch, carp, and barbel. Unlike salmon and trout, these fish aren’t usually eaten, so coarse fishing is the term that’s used to describe the practice of catching fish with the intention of releasing them back into the wild.

Coarse fishing is actually the most popular form of angling in Wales, so you’ll find plenty of local beauty spots which are perfectly situated for you to try your hand at this sport. There are barbel and chub to be found in all three of Wales’ most famous rivers – the Severn, Wye, and Taff – while carp, bream, and silverfish are all plentiful in coarse fisheries. Just north of Newport, the Llandegfedd Reservoir was home to the UK’s record-breaking pike, which weighed in at a hefty 46lb 13oz!

If you’re keen to give coarse fishing a go, it’s important to bring the right equipment with you. As well as your choice of tackle, you’ll need a landing net and a small pair of forceps or pliers to remove the hook from your fish’s mouth.

Game fishing in Wales

Game fishing is the process of catching species such as salmon, trout, and grayling with the intention of cooking and eating them. You’ll find game fish in abundance throughout the rivers and streams of Wales, ranging from practical ‘half-pounders’ to record-breaking salmon. The country’s largest salmon, which was caught from the River Usk in the 1700s, apparently weighed a whopping 68.5lb!

If you’re looking for a challenge against the backdrop of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the UK, head to the natural Bala Lake in Snowdonia for its stock of brown trout. Alternatively, enjoy a trip to a game fishing resort or private fishery.

mum and her two children crab fishing in Wales on the beach

Sea fishing in Wales

With a coastline that extends for more than 1600 miles, the shores of Wales can provide the ultimate angling experience. Whether you set up camp on one of its sandy beaches, its dramatic headlands, or by a quiet estuary, the saltwater is home to dozens of different species. This makes sea fishing a great choice for beginners all the year round.

There are two options when it comes to sea fishing. You can either fish from the shore, which is free, or you can travel out to sea on a charter boat. If you’re a true beginner, this can provide you with an excellent introduction to the world of sea angling. Many charter boats offer day trips where you’ll receive all the bait, tackle, and expertise you need, which means you’re far more likely to make a catch.

Carp Fishing in Wales

Carp fishing is about catching carp, a common fish in Wales. It’s perfect for those who enjoy a relaxed day by the water. A great place to try carp fishing is White Springs Fishery in Swansea. This spot is famous for its big carp and beautiful scenery and it’s suitable for everyone, from beginners to experienced anglers.

The fishery is stocked with several carp species, including common, mirror, and leather carp. They provide equipment hire and expert advice and they also hold fishing contests, making it a vibrant community hub for anglers.

Fly Fishing in Wales

Fly fishing is a skilful and traditional form of fishing and is deeply rooted in Welsh culture. It involves using lightweight lures (flies) and a specialized rod to catch fish, particularly trout and salmon. The River Wye in Powys, known for its clear waters and abundant fish life is a prime location for fly fishing.

The river’s ecosystem supports a rich variety of aquatic insects, making it an ideal habitat for trout. Local fly fishing clubs and guides offer lessons and guided trips, providing invaluable insights into local techniques and fly patterns which is a crucial learning experience for mastering the art of fly fishing.

Crab Fishing in Wales

Crab fishing in Wales offers is a great experience for families and casual anglers. Tenby in Pembrokeshire is famous for its accessible and abundant crabbing spots. The activity is simple yet engaging, requiring only a line, bait (like smoked bacon) and a small net.

The harbour area in Tenby is a fantastic spot for crab fishing due to its safe and easy access, as well as the high population of crabs near the shore. Local seafood shops and experienced crabbers often share tips on the best bait and techniques, enhancing the crab fishing experience for visitors.

2 men fishing at Cardiff Bay with a bright yellow sky in the background

© Hawlfraint y Goron / © Crown copyright (2024) Cymru Wales

What species of fish are there in Wales?

There are almost 50 different species of fish to be found in and around Wales, so wherever you’re staying, you won’t be far from one of them.

To protect stocks, many of these fish are subject to different national and byelaws, so always do your research before you prepare to reel them in. Some of the most popular species for anglers in Wales include:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Pike
  • Carp
  • Eels
  • Bass
  • Cod
  • Mullet
  • Mackerel
  • Rays
  • Tope
  • Chub
  • Barbel
  • Perch

What are the fishing laws in Wales?

If you’re planning a fishing holiday in Wales, it’s vital to familiarise yourself with the Welsh fishing laws. Anyone over the age of 13 will need to get a rod license in order to fish legally, whether that’s in the sea, lakes, or even a resort.

To conserve the fish population, game fishing is heavily restricted in Wales. You must release any salmon which you catch before mid-June (regardless of where you catch them), while the rivers Wye, Ely, and Taff operate on a strict ‘catch and release’ policy all through the fishing season.

Before you start fishing, always check what the fishing byelaws are in your chosen area. These could dictate the sorts of bait you use as well as the types of fish you’re allowed to catch. For certain species, you will have to apply for a special licence.

Hoping to land your very own catch of the day? This beginner’s guide will help you plan the ultimate fishing trip in Wales. Whether you’re looking for a secluded lakeside spot or a group excursion on a charter boat, this beautiful country has it all.